Chairman's Christmas Message
Reflections on the challenging yet richly rewarding road that led us here, and the positive outlook for 2023 and beyond…
I’m about to celebrate my 30th Christmas at the helm of The Superyacht Group and I thought it might be appropriate to send a message to all our friends, loyal readers, members and valued partners. I’m not going to lie, the past three years have perhaps been the hardest of the thirty years doing what we do, but it is clear to me that we have proven our strength and resilience and we have seen how supportive our partners and industry can be.
Looking back to March 2020, when the topic of COVID was just a news story coming out of China and Italy, we were heading in a really good direction, then when it became apparent that the world was entering a full-blown Pandemic, everyone tried to build wings as they all fell off a commercial cliff. Fast forward 24 months and we all know the story of the COVID-19 virus and how it changed the world forever, people became more aware of their mortality, the work from home culture exploded and everyone finally accepted that life is too short, which happened to be a commercial bonus for the Superyacht market.
However, no one could have predicted the Putin blip and how this decimated the Russian superyacht image, with everyone who had enjoyed the fruits of the oligarch’s labour, suddenly contemplating life without the floating cash cows. But ultimately life continued and luckily the USA was still feeding on the superyacht fodder and everyone expected the Ukrainian situation to just fade away and that the various sanctions would stimulate a withdrawal or a retraction of intention.
How wrong could people be? Still, as we end 2022 and head into the New Year in a couple of weeks, the impact of Putin’s decision is continuing to disrupt and disturb the wider world and our very exclusive niche, which depends on global trade, stable economics and dynamic markets to stay energised and healthy. Energy prices, raw material shortages, shipping costs, broken supply chains, unplanned inflation and a myriad of financial hangovers still loom over our industry’s head.
So, as we end 2022 and look forward to the Holidays (for those that celebrate – Happy Christmas), I wanted to write a message of positive energy, with a hint of reality and a huge thanks to everyone who has been part of our journey. We have a few more hurdles to overcome and while some reflect on boom times and talk of strong order books, it is important to look a little deeper and be more philosophical and consider what our future looks like.
Having encountered the Extinction Rebellion at The Superyacht Forum just over a month ago, whose direct and targeted protest was suggesting our “Industry is Dead” and that “Superyachts have no right to cruise our Planet” and we have to “Stop building these useless Toys for Billionaires” it made me wonder what the wider world really think of what we do.
We all know that we are in a very unique market and we create some incredible projects, many of which generate very limited impact on the planet when compared to big industry and other transport sectors. But the live on-stage protest and the rhetoric from these Next Gen activists made me feel frustrated and angry, reflecting that we are a much-misunderstood sector and maybe perception is completely confused.
Therefore, one of our missions and objectives for 2023 and beyond is to deliver information, intelligence, engagement and real facts and figures on what our industry does in terms of positive contributions, planetary impact, how our bright minds and smart clients invest in real change and to highlight some of the aspects of our industry that maybe the wider media and the general population doesn’t appreciate.
By working with our friends at SYBASS, Water Revolution Foundation and the Superyacht Life Foundation, alongside the broader industry friends, readers, members and partners, we want to build more and more intelligence and information on how our industry and our clients are evolving and adapting to the new world order. ESG / Sustainability / Low Impact / Reduced Emissions / Equality / Philanthropy / Ocean Protection / Smart Solutions / Future Fuels and Giving Back are the key pillars for our industry’s Future and over the next twelve months, we want to champion and highlight our industry’s victories and successes. We have to change perception and we have to change the way we do things, to put it very simply, “We have to Change!”
I personally think our future is challenging but exciting, it’s going be dynamic and different and it’s going to be positive with a few negatives, but ultimately, our industry will keep growing and evolving and we will all get smarter and leaner for the future. We have set out our goals for the next 3 years and we will play a key role in supporting all our friends, readers, members and partners with the best information, journalism, advice, intelligence and analysis we can deliver.
This is a small community of very passionate people, who create some of the most incredible projects afloat, but as the world changes and the ocean and the planet becomes the focus of governments, we will have to, quoting Henk De Vries at The Superyacht Forum – Adapt or Die. We will continue to adapt and we will help the industry adapt too.
So, I’d like to say, many thanks for all your support in the past few years and for many of you for being part of our thirty years and I wish you all a well-earned “Holiday” and some time to reflect and contemplate what’s in store for 2023 and beyond. And for those who are enjoying their time afloat during the Festive Season – relaxing or working – take some time to stare across that endless horizon and thank the planet for being so beautiful, but while you do, remember there is no Planet B.
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